After two sub-par seasons, Oregon basketball should be heading into next season with some momentum. I was down on the Ducks after three starters were declared out for the NIT. It was a solid “what’s the point?” type of feeling. But, after two wins it is clear that the NIT has given an opportunity for others to shine and gain some valuable experience. While Mr. FishDuck was having fun with online slots that his friend did recommend at Slotsource.com, he also pondered this NIL challenge for the Ducks.
Next season’s returnees Nathan Bittle and Tyrone Williams, along with Rivaldo Soares (undecided on returning) have made the most of their increased roles. In fact, through the first two rounds of the NIT, each one of them had a game with a double-double and has the look of taking their game to the next level next season.
Kel’el Ware has shown signs of his tremendous talent, and here is to hoping he comes back as he is at least 2-3 years away from developing into an NBA contributor. He could really benefit from another season or two in college, but the allure of being a possible first-round pick might be too great to pass up. This is where Oregon’s NIL collective needs to step in and make its first power play on the hardwood.
That is right, Oregon’s Division Street NIL Collective. It is time to go all Bo Nix on Kel’el Ware.
I think after getting a wake-up call this season that college basketball is a much more difficult game to dominate than high school, Ware learned some valuable lessons about what it takes to become a top player. And, after a full off-season, I would expect him to develop into a force to be reckoned with if he comes back next season. But, we shall see.
On the recruiting trail, per Rivals.com, Oregon has an outstanding 3 of the Top 40 recruits coming to town. (Though a bit humbling when you see that Kentucky has a whopping 3 of the Top 4 and 4 of the Top 7. Yikes!) Included are 5-star forward KJ Evans, 4-star forward Marquis Cook, as well as Oregon High School Player of the Year and Payton Pritchard protégé Jackson Shelstad.
For those who do not know, Shelstad grew up watching Pritchard play and followed Pritchard to excel at West Linn High School. The two are reported to be “really close.” Some pundits believe Shelstad will be better than Pritchard, and he is believed to possibly be the most dynamic high school player to come out of Oregon since Kevin Love.
Hopefully, Shelstad can hit the ground running with the Ducks and be the floor leader and go-to guy that the Ducks have sorely lacked since Chris Duarte left for the NBA two seasons ago. It is an interesting dynamic as a college basketball fan, selfishly we want our hoops recruits to be really good, but not quite so good that they become a surefire NBA lottery pick. If they are a top pick then by all means, go for it. But, with the in-between “should I stay or should I go” guys there needs to be something worth coming back to Oregon for. Hmmm….
Which, again, brings up Oregon’s Division Street NIL Collective.
Pairing the NIL collective with Oregon’s incoming freshman and key returnees could really be something to watch next season. It could be the classic Dana Altman style of starting out the season slowly as the team gels together, then really puts the pedal to the metal come next February and March to earn some of those big-time tournament payouts.
As they now say in the world of college athletics, it takes a collective’s money to make money.
Top photo credit: Twitter
Natalie Liebhaber, the FishDuck.com Volunteer Editor for this article, works in the technology industry in SLC, Utah.
Darren Perkins is a sales professional and 1997 Oregon graduate. After finishing school, he escaped the rain and moved to sunny Southern California where he studied screenwriting for two years at UCLA. Darren grew up in Eugene and in 1980, at the tender age of five, he attended his first Oregon football game. His lasting memory from that experience was an enthusiastic Don Essig announcing to the crowd: “Reggie Ogburn, completes a pass to… Reggie Ogburn.” Captivated by such a thrilling play, Darren’s been hooked on Oregon football ever since. Currently living in Spokane, Darren enjoys flaunting his yellow and green superiority complex over friends and family in Cougar country.
FishDuck Going to Articles on Monday and Tuesday Only…
Our off-season schedule begins, and we move from publishing articles seven days a week to Mondays and Tuesdays only. Same great group of writers, and we will have an article on other days on occasion.
The Our Beloved Ducks Forum (OBD) is where we we discuss the article above and many more topics, as it is so much easier in a message board format over there. At the free OBD forum we will be posting Oregon Sports article links, the daily Press Releases from the Athletic Department and the news coming out every day.
Our 33 rules at the free OBD Forum can be summarized to this: 1) be polite and respectful, 2) do not tell anyone what to think, feel or write, and 3) no reference of any kind to politics. Easy-peasy!
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